ABBY DAVIS, Preferred Content
Education: Western Michigan University, major - Spanish, minor - Psychology
Career background: My roommate at the time was the assistant to Dave Bugliari, a former assistant of Kevin Iwashina. He thought Kevin and I would be a good match and that working for Preferred Content would be a challenge that I would want to conquer.
Agency tenure: I've been with Preferred Content for a year, first starting as Kevin Iwashina's assistant. After six months here, I was promoted to Coordinator of Project Finance.
Ambitions: I look up to someone like Christine D'Souza, who held a similar position at Preferred Content to the one I have now and is currently on the WME Global team. I aspire to achieve her ability to mix a confident charisma with a no-nonsense attitude.
What you spend your time doing at Sundance: My main focus will be to support our existing client films as well as the agendas of long-time collaborators such as Christine Vachon of Killer Films.
What young or new filmmakers could learn from you in a five-minute conversation on the street in Park City: You need to be passionate and stay true to your character. Passion sparks commitment, and you need to be 110% committed. Maintaining who you are will instill an extreme confidence in your abilities and drive you forward.
Head of your department: Kevin Iwashina
Best/most useful thing learned from those above you: Perfection is not realistic, but you will always achieve more when striving for it.
Education: Syracuse University, S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Major: Public Relations
Career background: After graduation, I spent three years in New York City at various advertising/PR agencies working with brand clients to make the most of their entertainment spends. Taking what I learned in NY, I was lucky enough to land a job working for David Freeman, the co-head of CAA's Brand Coverage Group, in Los Angeles. During my time at CAA, Dave's primary focus shifted from brands to digital content packaging, which helped expose me to the worlds of non-traditional content financing, windowing and distribution. Once I realized I could take what I was learning at CAA and repurpose it for a more traditional, film-centric career (a direction I was interested in pursuing), Micah Green and Dina Kuperstock of CAA's Film Finance Department introduced me to Kevin Iwashina and Preferred Content.
Agency tenure: I've been the Film Sales Coordinator at Preferred Content since November 2012.
Ambitions: My goal is to help talented artists bring their visions to life.
Filmmaking and filmmakers that inspire you: I respond to filmmakers such as Wes Anderson, Quentin Tarantino and Joel & Ethan Coen who push boundaries with their filmmaking. Being fearless and taking risks, in my eyes, often creates the most interesting cinema.
What you spend your time doing at Sundance: While in Park City, I will be servicing client films, liaising with buyers & financiers, and strategizing new ways to expand our digital content & distribution practice.
What young or new filmmakers could learn from you in a five-minute conversation on the street in Park City: I would tell a young filmmaker how important it is to understand the business aspect of movies. Directors should of course stay true to their visions as filmmakers and make movies that they're passionate about, but at the same time keep in mind this is a business.
Head of your department: Kevin Iwashina
Best/most useful thing learned from those above you: How to not be insecure about saying "I don't know.”
The keys to making the most of the junior position, from Kevin Iwashina, managing partner, Preferred Content: I ask all our staff to watch our documentary “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” and to read Patrick Lencioni's “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.” These are strong reference points that highlight the core values of our organization — teamwork, leadership, vulnerability and the notion that one should always strive for perfection knowing it will most likely never be achieved.